Naroa natural shower sponge in a bathroom, held by a model with only hand and sponge showing, with candles and a pumice stone in background

How do you sterilize and clean a natural sponge?

Naroa natural sea sponges are an excellent way to clean face pores, aid dead skin removal, and nourish your body with a luxuriant bathing experience. But after using your sponge, it is integral that you clean it.

The intricate channel structure of a sea sponge has a natural ‘self-clean’ feature by allowing water to flow through freely. Compared to other sponges, natural sea sponges are far more hygienic for this reason. But even still, cleaning your sea sponge is an important task.

With all bathing sponges, dead skin cells, soap remnants, and bacteria all linger together within the structures of the sponges. Leaving this dirt and bacteria to thrive in the sponge not only damages the product and shortens its life cycle, but could also lead to an infection, acne, and blemishes by rubbing bacteria back into your skin. Luckily, with natural sea sponges, these issues are not as prolific unlike with plastic sponges where cleaning is next to impossible. Whether a natural sea sponge or normal sponge, for hygiene and product lifespan, it is important to clean them on a regular basis. 

So, once you have selected a natural sea sponge from Naroa, read this guide to learn how to clean it effectively.


Sterilize your bath exfoliating sponge

Sterilizing your sponge involves soaking it in a diluted solution and thoroughly rinsing it afterwards. Below are some of our recommended methods for cleaning a bath exfoliating sponge.


Tea tree oil

Using tea tree oil can be an effective way to mitigate the buildup of bacteria and dead skin on your natural sponge. Tea tree oil is known widely for its antimicrobial properties and using it to clean your sea sponge can eliminate odor and bacteria while leaving your sponge smelling refreshed. 

To clean a natural sponge with tea tree oil, add the oil to a bowl and mix well with warm water. A few drops per cup of water will suffice. Soak your natural sea sponge in this solution for a few hours, then rinse it thoroughly and leave it to dry. 

The larger your sponge, the more solution you will need to make. Ensure you have enough to submerge the sponge entirely, so that when you soak the sponge the benefits of the tea tree oil are spread throughout, and no area is missed.


Vinegar (white wine vinegar)

Acetic acid, more commonly known simply as vinegar, is an effective mycobactericidal disinfectant. In other words, it can kill bacteria. Therefore, soaking your natural sea sponge in a solution of vinegar and water can kill any bacteria present. Any vinegar will be effective; however, we recommend only using white wine vinegar as it has a gentler aroma compared to other vinegar types. 

To clean a natural sponge with vinegar, combine a tablespoon of white wine vinegar and one cup of warm water in a bowl. Soak your sea sponge thoroughly in the solution. You may need to use more vinegar and water depending on the size of your sponge, just make sure the ratio of vinegar to water does not change. 

Leave the sea sponge in the solution for an hour, then rinse and leave it to dry. Your sponge should now be fresh, free of bacteria, and ready to be used. 


Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide kills most viruses and bacteria, so it will be an effective way to disinfect your sponge. Using hydrogen peroxide also lightens the sponge slightly. However, although hydrogen peroxide possesses great benefits for cleaning, it can damage your skin, household surfaces, and if it comes into contact with your eyes, it can cause damage and irritation.

The level of damage depends on the strength of the hydrogen peroxide as well as how safely you use it. So, if you choose to use this method to disinfect your natural sea sponge, we recommend you do so with caution. Make sure you are wearing the appropriate safety measures (typically rubber gloves and eye protection) and read the instructions of the hydrogen peroxide bottle carefully. It is best not to use anything stronger than 3% hydrogen peroxide.

To clean a natural sponge with hydrogen peroxide, use a quarter cup of hydrogen peroxide and 1 cup of water, then soak the sponge for 5 mins. Next, rinse and leave to dry. This method will have killed any lingering bacteria and will leave your sponge sterilized and possibly lighter than before. 


Baking soda

A great way to remove dirt and grime from your sponge is to soak it in a solution of baking soda and water. Baking soda is very good for cleaning, as it dissolves dirt and grease easily in water. It is also an alkaline cleaner, so it will neutralize any acidic molecules which otherwise create a bad odor. 

To clean a natural sponge with baking soda, use one tablespoon of baking powder and one cup of warm water. Mix the solution, then soak your natural sea sponge, squeezing and soaking multiple times to ensure the baking soda solution reaches all areas. 

Leave the sponge for an hour, then rinse out any of the baking soda solution thoroughly and allow it to dry. This will remove dirt and leave your real sponge smelling clean and fresh.


How to clean a natural sponge

When cleaning your sponge, regardless of the sterilizing agent you use, the trick is to soak it thoroughly multiple times. After soaking the sponge, be sure to squeeze the water out rather than wringing or pulling the sponge.

You may need to soak multiple times to ensure you sterilize and squeeze out all the dead skin cells the sponge has exfoliated off your face and body. Once sterilized, repeat the process with clean water to ensure all the sterilizing agent is washed away. You can then leave the sponge to dry.

Sponges can be delicate and are meant for bathing your skin, so don’t treat them roughly like you would a loofah or plastic washing up sponge.


How NOT to clean your natural sea sponge

It is best to stick to our method of cleaning for your Naroa bath exfoliating sponge. Using a different method will fail to clean the sponge thoroughly or may even damage it. When cleaning a natural sea sponge, make sure you:

  • Do not use very hot water, i.e. boiling water, as this will damage the sponge and change the texture, often making it too rough and unpleasant for use on your skin.
  • Do not put your sponge in the microwave, as the intense heat will damage the sponge at the core, making it susceptible to crumbling. 
  • Do not put your natural sea sponge in the dryer. The heat from the dryer causes immense damage and if the sponge catches on the side of the drum, it may cause tears too. Putting your sponge through the dryer greatly increases the risk of it falling apart. 
  • Do not use bleach or any cleaning product that contains bleach, as bleaching the sea sponge will seriously damage the material, making it unusable.

For more information about how to clean a natural sponge and take care of your Naroa bath sponges, read our FAQs and follow us on social media.

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